Begin at the beginning

Begin at the beginning

I like to think that I read a fair amount but compared to the rest of my family, I’m lightweight.

So a few years ago when my brother, Adam, said “Did you see that article in The New Yorker?” It almost went without saying the answer was “No”.


“Do you remember Terry Waite and the time he spent in jail?” Adam asked. I did, Terry Waite had been a Special Envoy to the Middle East and had been was kidnapped. It was headline news at the time. He ended up spending 4 years in jail

Like me, Adam has worked with brands and marketing; he was a founding partner of the communication agency HHCL, and so he thought one part in the article in particular would appeal to me.

It told how slowly over time Terry Waite had won the respect of his guards and how finally one of the guards had offered to try and get him a book. After much thought Terry Waite decided what he would ask for; he asked the guard for any book which had a picture of a particular bird on the spine. To ensure the guard knew what he meant he drew him a picture of the black and white bird he was referring to – a penguin.

I loved it, a simple but incredible strong story that demonstrated the power of brands.

It got me thinking how in my job as a brand consultant I often used similar stories about brands to make a point to my clients. I almost sub-consciously always tried to frame them as stories rather than just examples or case studies.

Thinking consciously about it I realised that I should collecting other stories…and so I did.

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